• Maryland

Seven Maryland state parks at capacity on Fourth of July, authorities say

With thousands flocking to state parks on the Fourth of July, seven of them were full to capacity and closed to additional visitors by Wednesday afternoon, Maryland Natural Resources Police said.

The closed parks, a fraction of the 75 across the state, are:


» Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis

» Rocky Gap State Park in Flintstone

» Patapsco Valley State Park - Avalon Area in Elkridge

» Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont

» North Point State Park in Edgemere

» Gunpowder Falls State Park Hammerman Area Beach in Middle River

» Greenbrier State Park in Boonsboro

The closed parks could open up by late Wednesday afternoon as visitors head elsewhere for fireworks and other evening festivities, said Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson.

State parks are declared at capacity when their parking lots fill up, and no further visitors are allowed, she said. After a few hundred parking spots open up, each park is reopened.

Sandy Point in Annapolis, a beach on the western end of the Bay Bridge, filled to its parking lot’s 1,500-spot capacity by 9:30 a.m., and Rocky Gap was half full by 8:15 a.m., Thomson said.

Sandy Point is full nearly every summer weekend, she said, but officials didn’t know whether it would be on the Wednesday holiday. Natural Resources Police and the Maryland Park Service fully staffed the parks, assuming they might, she said.

“If the Fourth of July was on a weekend, we’d just shrug our shoulders,” Thomson said. “When it’s midweek, you’re not quite sure what you’re going to get.”